Michigan residents will pay about $604 million covering the costs of illegal aliens in this state, a non-profit advocacy group says.
State Representative Dave Agema, R-Grandville, says that is an expense Michigan can no longer afford. Agema introduced House Bills 4969 and 4355 in May and hopes they will be addressed on the house floor within the next couple weeks. The bills require a personnel agency and public employers or contractors use the “E-verify” system to check the residency status of its workers.
E-verify is an Internet-based system that allows an employer, using information reported on an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to determine the eligibility of that employee to work in the United States. There is no charge. The system is operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration.
Agema said the legislation is needed for three reasons:
Jobs paid for with government funds should go to Michigan residents who need jobs with unemployment the highest in the country.
“Taxpayers money should not be giving illegals jobs in this state, not when we have unemployment at 15 percent,” Agema said. “It’s a job issue.”
Agema said that $600 million Michigan residents pay for the costs of illegal aliens could be used elsewhere.
And, it’s a homeland security issue.
“To me, this is an absolute no-brainer,” Agema said. “The people of Michigan are sick of paying for illegals’ jobs and benefits.”
And there should be bi-partisan support for his legislation, Agema said.
“A lot of people in the state of Michigan are union members, and they are losing their jobs,” Agema said. “Illegals should not be getting jobs in the state of Michigan with taxpayer dollars. It is unbelievable to me.”
But the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is not supportive of Agema’s legislation.
“This legislation seeks to make Michigan employers the ‘immigration police,’” said Wendy Block, Director of Health Policy and Human Resources for the Michigan Chamber, in a press release. “Rather than place this mandate on employers, many of whom are ill-equipped to handle this requirement, we believe law enforcement agencies should continue to take primary responsibility of federal immigration laws.”
“Congress intended for E-verify to be voluntary,” said Jim Holcomb, Vice President of Business Advocacy and Associate General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber, in a press release. “E-verify, or some other form of mandatory electronic verification, should only be mandated on the federal level in the context of federal immigration reform in order to avoid a piecemeal approach to the immigration issue and headaches for firms operating in multiple states.”
“E-verify cannot detect many forms of document fraud or identity theft and is, by no means, foolproof,” Block said. “As a result, many employers and employees, who may have to wait days if not weeks to resolve a discrepancy or error, will be left in limbo if the system is mandatory.”
Federation For American Immigration Reform, a non-profit organization looking to reform the nation’s immigration policies, said E-verify is very simple to do.
“It takes 13 seconds,” said Bob Dane, press secretary for FAIR. “It takes you longer to make a cup of coffee than to verify a job applicant’s eligibility to work.”
Dane said critics of E-verify are concerned about the loss of cheap labor.
“They are scared to death that the E-verify movement is sweeping the nation,” Dane said. “It is an obstacle that ruins their plans flow of cheap illegal labor. The American public likes E-verify. It creates more job opportunities for a legal US resident to get and it increase wages.”
FAIR estimate the cost to Michigan taxpayers for illegal aliens was $604 million, with about 75 percent of that attributed to education. That figure includes the cost for education of children, jail costs and providing medical services, including emergency room visits.
It doesn’t include displaced U.S. residents who lost jobs given to illegal aliens.
FAIR estimates there are 125,000 illegal aliens in Michigan. Nationwide, FAIR said about 8.3 million illegal aliens hold jobs in this country.
Dane said 12 states have E-verify systems mandatory in some capacity. He said there is legislation under consideration in North Carolina and Mississippi to make E-verify mandatory for all employers, including those in the private sector.